MADRID • Passengers wearing masks and wheeling suitcases arrived at Madrid’s main airport, and French people crossed the border to buy bargain alcohol and tobacco on Sunday, as Spain opened its borders to most European countries and ended a state of emergency imposed three months ago.
Spain’s borders are now open to all European Union countries except Portugal, as well as Schengen area members outside the bloc and Britain, in a much-needed boost to the country’s tourism industry, which accounts for more than 12 per cent of the economy.
People with suitcases were seen boarding trains at Madrid’s Atocha station, heading for coastal Valencia. In the northern city of Irun, French people were seen crossing the border to queue for cheap tobacco and alcohol.
Some 1,500 German tourists also touched down in Mallorca early last week as part of a pilot scheme to establish a travel corridor between the two areas, ahead of the lifting of restrictions on Sunday.
British tourists will be allowed in without having to quarantine, even though they will still be subject to 14 days isolation upon their return to Britain.
Spaniards are now allowed to move freely around the country.
All arriving passengers will have their temperature taken and must submit information about where they have come from, and provide their whereabouts in Spain in case they need to be traced.
Spain’s border with neighbouring Portugal will reopen on July 1, at Lisbon’s request.
Non-Europeans are still banned from entering Spain except for Spanish passport-holders, health workers or people in transit, Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said in a local radio interview, adding that the government will make a decision this week on which visitors from outside Europe to allow in.